Kayak fishing: Basic Equipment You Need to Start

Basic Kayak Fishing Equipment

Kayak fishing has attracted more and more anglers in recent years. Among them, I find shore anglers looking for new playgrounds, boat anglers wishing to facilitate the organization of their fishing trips, or quite simply curious to discover new sensations.

However, kayak fishing requires minimum equipment, often specialized, to practice in good conditions. I offer you here a list of the necessary equipment to discover this beautiful fishing practice with efficiency and safety.

In this article, I will not broach the subject of choosing a kayak, so I will assume that you already have a kayak and a solution suitable for its transport: trailer, roof bars, etc.

Kayak Equipment

Let’s see which equipment you actually need for your kayak for starting kayak fishing…


Cart is not always supplied with the kayak, but in my opinion, it is the most important piece of equipment. There are mainly two types of carts or trolleys: models that fit into self-draining wells and models with a seat on which the kayak rests.

It should be ensured that they reinforce the kayak at the level of the wells. I mean to use a cart that fits into the kayak perfectly, at the risk of cracking the kayak.

Kayak cart kayak fishing

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Whether you have a paddle sit-on-top or a sit-in kayak, paddling will be mandatory in both situations. It will be used to move around, as a backup means, in the event of failure of your propulsion system.

Remember to attach your paddle to the kayak using a leash.

Kayak paddle kayak fishing

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Like the cart, the backrest or the seat is not always come with the kayak even if you pick this among democratic manufacturers. Remember to try it and equip yourself with a comfortable model. Sometimes, having a comfortable seat while fishing is one of the key elements to a successful outing without premature fatigue.

folder backrest seat kayak fishing

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Security Equipment

Kayak fishing is subject to special regulations concerning the safety equipment required to be able to exercise this practice. I invite you to follow this section and visit the links to find all the necessary information.

Safety Jacket

There are two categories of vests: foam and automatic with gas cartridges. I advise beginners to stay on a foam vest, maintenance-free, it will allow you to perform kayak overturning tests without having the inconvenience of triggering a vest.

The lift of the vest is expressed in Newtons. Take one with a high certification (> 100 N), more secure than the 50N standards.

Safety Jacket kayak fishing

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The VHF is a marine radio allowing to contact the rescue services or other boats via communication channels. This tool may seem disproportionate for kayak fishing but remember that with a VHF you can call for help with two buttons.

Using a smartphone in a waterproof pouch when you encounter difficulties will not be comparable in terms of efficiency.

VHF kayak fishing

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A knife can be useful when you need to cut a rope that has become tangled. However, for a knife to be effective, it must be within reach (hanging on the vest for example) and sharp. A knife with a questionable edge is ineffective or even dangerous. Remember to hang your knife on the kayak or other floating object to avoid losing it at the first inattention.

Knife kayak fishing

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Waterproof Lamp

Lamp is the part of compulsory equipment (means of light spotting) for the practice of kayak fishing. It is also particularly practical for morning or late outings. A head torch light is also more practical to keep your hands free while being able to be used by hand if necessary.

Waterproof Lamp kayak fishing

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Angler’s Clothes

Regarding the outfit for kayak fishing, there are two main schools: wet outfits and dry outfits.

Wet Hold

The wet suit is often the best known, it consists of a full or short neoprene suit generally used for surfing or windsurfing. It can also consist of a neoprene overall over which a breathable kayak jacket is put on. This type of outfit is reliable from a safety point of view but has the disadvantage of being often much too hot in summer.

Dry Hold

The dry outfit is ideal for the angler in a kayak because it allows you to stay dry while being able to modulate the layers of clothing underneath. This allows you to adapt to different temperatures and to fish in greater comfort. The real dry outfit is a one-piece suit type model, the price of which varies between 500 and 1000 dollars.

An alternative is to use waterproof & breathable kayak pants or waders over which you put on a jacket, also waterproof and breathable. This allows benefiting from a tightness up to the waist by immersion and a total tightness to the spray.

Jacket and Waders to Stay Dry

A waterproof and breathable set: waders and kayak jacket with sleeves.

Unlike the two-piece suit, the dry suit hardly allows water to enter the event of immersion. The trick is to use a jacket with sleeves to limit the entry of water as much as possible through the sleeves, neck and waist. The waterproof pants are also generally supplied with a belt to reinforce the protection.

Jacket and Waders to Stay Dry kayak fishing

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Neoprene boots are very often used by kayak fishermen, especially for use with a wetsuit.

For users of waterproof pants, the outfit usually has socks, so you will need a pair of shoes to protect them. The socks are sometimes quite thick, it will be necessary to take this into account in the choice of shoes, by taking a few sizes more. Mesh slippers with rubber soles or the classic Crocs do the trick very well.

Footwear kayak fishing

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Fishing Equipment

The choice of fishing equipment will be a subject in its own right in the coming weeks. However, to start, the idea is to have a versatile kayak fishing rod/reel set and a small box of lures, complete, varied and efficient.

Between the reel and the fishing rod, if your budget is limited, prefer to put a higher budget in the reel, reliability and resistance will be a plus in the practice of kayak fishing.

For lures, I recommend the following assortment to start. It will allow you to face many situations and you can complete them as you go.

  • A surface lure of 9cm and one of 12cm
  • A small bib lure from 10 to 12cm
  • A 9 and a 12cm shad
  • A 10 and a 15cm slug
  • Two or three lures mounted on anti-grass mounting (Texan)
  • A 10gr jig

The Most That Make the Difference

  • Tide directory or smartphone with internet access
  • To drink and to eat
  • A cap and a pair of polarized glasses to protect you and improve visibility on the water
  • A rubber mesh landing net (nylon mesh destroys fins and fabric meshes are very difficult to disentangle if a hook is caught)
  • A pliers to unhook a hook
  • A plastic tape measure to measure your catch


Now that you’ve gone through this kayaking checklist, you’ll realize that it’s not an easy activity. There are several things you need to prepare to ensure your adventure is comfortable and safe. Always remember that these items are essential, but you should only bring what you really need.

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Liam Dean is a Professional Blogger and Outdoor Enthusiast. He completed Masters in Sports Sciences and spend all of his free time doing sports and other outdoor activities. During vacations, he goes hunting, fishing and mountaineering.

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